For those of you racing the Mooseman Half next weekend

Here’s my take on the bike course.  Just think “constant hills”.  It’s a great ride, and the second loop will feel MUCH shorter than the first.  Just be sure to use your downhills, but BE CAREFUL on the first major downhill on the back side of the loop – an easy place to die at 40 mph+ and uneven roads.
Attached is a PDF of the bike course with my comments in red – it will give you a very simple breakdown of all sections, and hopefully give you some meaningful course knowledge.
Good luck out there!!







Trouble In Paradise

Weekly Training Totals:

Swim: 2 hr 35 min (8,400 yds)
Bike: 7 hrs 43 min
Run: 0 hrs 10 min
Strength: 0 hr 58 min

Total: 11 hrs 26 min

You know things are headed in a strange direction when you start stumbling upon cars like this...

It doesn’t take much investigation into the numbers above to see where the trouble started this week.  It was a week where I integrated recovery from the Bassman Half with a slow build, but a total of 10 minutes of running is hardly a build!  I felt great after the half, and surprisingly so.  Come Tuesday, my muscles were still a bit sore but I was ready to follow the training plan and get back in the groove, so I jumped on the trainer as usual.  I had a great 70 minute “roller coaster” spin session, and jumped out the door right after for a 25 minute transition run.  10 steps in I knew something wasn’t right – the inside of my left lower leg started aching like it has been on and off since last year, but this time it was a more precise pain…this wasn’t soreness.  So I kept running, hoping to adjust my cadence and my foot drop a bit to alleviate the pain, but it wouldn’t go away.  .5 miles in I was worried, and by 1.3 miles in it was over.  I knew I was doing more harm than good, and I gingerly walked the 1.3 miles back to the homestead.  Shit.

I iced and stretched, took some ibuprofen, and iced again.  I laid off it, but continued swimming and biking.  It hurt to walk down the street, though, so I knew it was a bit more serious this time.  Finally the doc would see me this morning (Monday) after an entire week off from running, and the news wasn’t great.  “Your tibia is pissed at you, and you’ve gotta stop running” were his exact words.  It’s definitely a bone issue this time around – nothing the so-painful deep tissue massage can do for me this time (slight sigh of relief…but still would like this thing fixed).  This coming from the doc who previously let me run through injuries b/c they would eventually go away when every other doc said stop, so I trust him when he says stop.  So he said I’m off my feet for 2 weeks until I see him again, but I can still strength train, bike and swim, so volumes will probably go up 20-30% in those areas – hey, could be good for my bike split!  Oh well, this stuff happens I suppose – I spent the weekend dreaming about the Race Across America, thinking I would replace IMKY with that this isn’t something that I can get to go away in a few months, only to find out today that it’s in June and reg is closed!  Oh well – IMKY, you now have me whether I can handle you or not!  So who knows, maybe I’ll do the swim & bike normally, and switch to the hand cycle division for the run – I’m sure the race organizers would love to accomodate.

The week wasn’t a total loss though – had a great climb in swimming and felt crazy strong in the pool the whole week, bolstered by the confidence of a great (for me) swim split last weekend.  Sunday I hit the road for a 3-hour bike, but I got excited by all the signs for the Gran Fondo, a century ride to the top of Bear Mountain from Manhattan, and ended up hitting the top of Bear Mountain before realizing I only had 1 gel left with 50 miles left to travel…bad planning, but a great ride.  Found a snickers and a banana on the way home, and was more than ready for a giant evening burrito post-shower.

And what’s going on with that crazy VW short-bus van we found??  Must be for the slower hippies of yore…

Funny Recovery Week Video

See below for a great summary of Sunday thru Wednesday of this week.  Borrowing this video from Jon over at  Enjoy!

Bassman Half Ironman – Race Report

Swim: 32:35 (1:32/100 yds)
T1: 3:59
Bike: 2:54:44 (19.9 mph avg)
T2: 2:55
Run: 1:43:07 (7:52/mile)
Overall: 5:17:19

In lieu of a pretty uneventful taper week training report, I figured I’d jump right into the meat and potatoes of the week.  If you recall, about 3 weeks ago I was up practicing on the Mooseman bike course with Noah and I suddenly got the itch to race again, so I went home and immediately signed up for the Bassman Half, convincing Momoko to take on her first ever multisport event – a sprint duathlon, which she completed and had 2 of the 3 fastest runs of the day – nice work Mo!

So I went into the race with a pretty normal race routine – wake up at 4:00 a.m., drink skim milk with Carnation Instant Breakfast, a banana with peanut butter, and a Nature Valley bar, shower, drive to the race, set up transition, and wait around for the gun…just with one major difference – no nerves!  Nope, the pre-race jitters didn’t hit until about 60 seconds before the gun – weird, but I think it’s a function of this being season #2 at this distance, and I felt much more confident.

So the gun went off and I made the STUPID mistake once again – not even thinking, I lined up towards the front of the swim.  I got CLOBBERED for the first 150 yards – so much so that I couldn’t get a breath and started hyperventilating.  I popped up like a buoy, caught my breath, waited for the group to pass, and started again.  I forgot how much triathletes – even slow swimmers – jump out of the gate because of nervous energy and then die later on!  “Crappy start to the season” – that was the only thing in my head – along with “oh crap, am I gonna drop out during the first 150 meters of my first race of the GD season?!?”  But inevitably I settled in and hit my stride – enjoying the buoyancy of the long-sleeve wetsuit and slowly passing folks 1 by 1.  Because of the  start, though, I was sure I had blown it, and my goal of sub-6 hours was put into question.  I got out of the water and into transition – as always completely disoriented and dizzy, and passed through transition in a moderate 3 mins 59 secs.  Without a race clock in transition, I had no idea where I was time-wise and just went with the thought that I needed an ultra-fast bike to make up for it.

Onto the bike and my HR was soaring after transition – sitting at 165.  I had to get aerobic, and fast.  So my focus was on water and deep breathing – to hell with speed or I wouldn’t even finish.  So within about 90 seconds I was down to where I needed to be and built speed.  I was at a HR of around 137 and pumping out about 20 mph on the early flats, and feeling good.  The course was pretty flat all around, so I wanted to make up some time that I thought I had lost in the swim.  Keeping my HR around 140 (my anaerobic threshold is around 152), I stayed aero for about 85% of the ride and just crunched.  I adjusted my nutrition a bit, advancing a few gels to get some nutrition down early, and kept my plan for hydration right on track.  At first I got passed by a few people, but they were pushing really hard and I figured I’d see them again.  Even got chicked someone who should not have been passing me, but she slowed down pretty fast so I un-chicked myself early enough to stay happy.  I ended loop 1 just under my goal of 1:30, since I was shooting for 3:00 overall, and was thinking I might fade a bit.  At the bottle exchange on the turn, though, I still felt great, so I let my body guide and just shut up the voices in the back of my head.  Despite lower back pain I even upped my average mph on the second go-round as I started to target people ahead of me to pass, and ended the 58-mile course in 2:54:44 – woo hoo!  Finally a bike split under 3 hours, and this one was 2 miles longer than the norm!

T2 - Nathan Byrd - Bassman Spring Half Ironman


Not only that, but Momoko (who had just finished own her duathlon!) was standing outside of transition and told me that it was only 11:33 a.m. – I did some quick math (based on an 8:00 a.m.-ish start), and realized that I hadn’t botched the swim…in fact, quite the opposite!  I figured in my head a time around 33 minutes, and spent the first mile of the run trying to see how that could’ve been possible.  But it was, as I saw the race clock right as I started the run, and my confidence soared – barring a completely botched puke-fest on the run, I would be going sub-6 today!

Starting my run.

Calculations to hell, I wanted to fly on this half marathon.  I was tired of going 2:15+ on 1/2 IM runs, and had something to prove to myself.  I knew the risk of going too fast too early, though, so I settled for an 8:30/mile pace for my first mile.  I ended up leaving the 1.5 mile water station with 2 women who seemed to be pushing my 8:30 pace, so we settled in between 8:00 and 8:10, as I was feeling pretty good.  We stuck together for about 2-3 miles, but then they dropped off as they were starting to get tired.  Needless to say, though, it was nice to have some company after several hours of racing on what seemed to be an empty road at times.  The run course was really amazing, though – weaving, twisting and turning on trails and road through the Bass River State Forest – the nicest I’ve ever run by far.  Soaking in the atmosphere, I settled in my pace at 8:15 for the next few miles, getting plenty of water down and keeping myself well hydrated (well, better than the last few races at least).  Come mile 7-8, I started to slow down, but I was still in the 135-142 HR, so I kicked it up a notch and let myself get up to 146 to keep my pace.  This carried me to the last 5k, and it was time to kick it up a notch.  I went to 7:15, and fluctuated within 15 seconds of this pace for the last 2.5 miles, then came  the wall.  Hard-core cramp in my left side, and I could hardly breathe.  I thought “good, I used all my gas…but damn this last .5 miles is gonna suck!”  It did, but lo and behold, a sub-2 half mary for the first time in a 1/2 IM!  I crossed the finish line doubled over in pain, but thrilled with the day as I saw the clock flash 5:17:19.  Holy crap!

Bassman Half - Finishing

10 feet from the finish line, in pain but happy.

I stuck with just water on recovery for 60 minutes, then went and ate everything in sight, happy as hell and ready to hit the sack and start dreaming of race #2 of the season.  Race #1 down, and with it went goal #1 of the season: break 6 hours at the 1/2 IM distance…check!

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